History | Colorful Americans: American Immigration History after the Civil War
A200 | 11829 | Hoshino


This course is designed to provide an in-depth examination of how
immigrants have become Americans and how such “new” Americans have
shaped American society, particularly since the second wave of the
great immigration at the end of the nineteenth century. It not only
explores the particular stories of a variety of specific immigrant
groups, but also positions the experience of each in the broader
context of American history.
	
The course traces the processes by which immigrants struggled to
define and maintain their identities as particular communities as
well as to assimilate into American society. It also sets out to
describe the influence of these hundreds of thousands of new
individuals on American politics, society, and culture. The course
begins by treating Irish, Italian, and Jewish immigrants at the turn
of the twentieth century, and then goes on to look at Chinese,
Japanese, and Korean immigrants in the decades prior to World War
II, later political refugees such as German Jews, Vietnamese, and
Cuban immigrants, and lastly Mexican and Arab immigrants during the
1970s and 1980s, treating these immigrations all in tandem with the
history of specific immigration policies and crucial national
events.

The course also seeks to understand how these immigrations affected
the ways in which Americans understood the meaning of
being “American.” In what ways did different immigrant groups
imagine these “American-ness” and how did they attempt to exemplify
this idea? And how did “indigenous” Americans react to these
immigrants and to the challenges to earlier understandings of being
American that they presented?

Students will have the opportunity to explore these issues of on-
going relevance through classroom and homework exercises that will
instruct them how to locate and analyze primary historical materials
and relevant secondary literatures.